Power by Association

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We use tools from evolutionary game theory to examine how power might influence the cultural evolution of inequitable conventions between discernible groups (such as gender or racial groups) in a population of otherwise identical individuals. Similar extant models always assume that power is homogeneous across a social group. As such, these models fail to capture situations where individuals who are not themselves disempowered nonetheless end up disadvantaged in bargaining scenarios by dint of their social group membership. Our models show that even when most individuals in two discernible sub-groups are relevantly identical, powerful individuals can affect the social outcomes for their entire group under a range of conditions; this results in power by association for their in-group and a bargaining disadvantage for their out-group.


How to Cite: LaCroix, T. & O'Connor, C. (2022) “Power by Association”, Ergo. 8(0). doi: